Something Is Happening But You Won't Learn What It Is

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 389–390. Reviews the book, Abnormality: Experimental and Clinical Approaches by Steven Reiss, Rolf A. Peterson, Leonard D. Eron, and Maggi Musico Reiss (see record 1978-01167-000). The authors intended focus here is on research on psychopathology. The volume begins with three overview chapters devoted to classification, historical perspectives, and definitions of abnormality. A second section consists of six chapters covering different approaches to the study and treatment of mental disorders: biological, psychoanalytic, social learning, phenomenological, community mental health, and psychological assessment. About midway through the book begins a series of nine chapters on the various forms of psychopathology. Finally, there are two “bonus” chapters-one on “abnormal behavior in normal people” and the other on two topics “closely related to the study of abnormal behavior,” aggression and fantasy. The major problem with the text is the utter lack of enthusiasm conveyed for the subject matter. Frequent refrains in this book are that one or another finding is correlational and therefore can provide no evidence regarding causation and that one or another research design is methodologically questionable or inadequate. There is frequent evidence in the text of lapses in scholarly carefulness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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